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Cove Joint

A regular fixture in most homes across the country, cove joints are prone to water seepage. Here’s how you can prevent water damage.

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It’s not uncommon for homeowners to notice that after every storm or prolonged rain, there’s water on their basement walls and floors. This usually indicates that their cove joints are leaking. 

Cove joints are located where basement walls and floors meet. You might experience seepage at the cove joints in your basement as a result of hydrostatic pressure, which pushes against any surface in its way. In this case, that surface would be a basement wall or floor. This force is strong enough to cause damage in walls and cove joints are usually the weakest link.

cove joint

What Are Cove Joints?

Cove joints are the space between foundation walls and floors. The reason why they leak goes back to the construction of the property. During construction, builders pour concrete footings first and let them cure. They then build walls on top of the cured footings. Lastly, the builders pour the basement floor over the top of the base and against the basement wall.

Although this is a standard procedure for building a new home, the fresh layers of concrete poured on top of cured ones often don’t bind with them. This, in turn, leaves gaps and holes between the two surfaces. That space between them is what we call a cove joint in construction terms.

Unfortunately, these joints are prone to water seepage. Due to water pressure, moisture will pass through them and the foundation wall. When this happens, we call it cove seepage and in the following we’ll explain how to spot the early signs.

Warning Signs of Cove Joint Seepage

In case you’re suspecting that you have cove joint leaks in your basement, there’s a simple way you can resolve your dilemma. Namely, go down to your basement and examine the area where your basement walls meet with the floor. Remember that cove joints don’t look like cracks, but more like straight lines. As long as your cove joints are compressed, you won’t have to worry about any serious structural damage.

Nevertheless, you can’t always see cove joint seepage that clearly. The leaks might be so small that you won’t be able to identify them. But if you allow them to build up, the problem can soon become a living nightmare with pooling water in your basement. It’s key to understand that this is a major problem since it will not only ruin whatever you’re storing down there but will also affect your foundation and pave the way for mold infestation.

Sealing the Cove Joint Will Not Quite Work

Most homeowners, regardless of their experience, are aware of the dangers moisture poses to basements. It’s not just about the structural state of your home, it can also affect your health and the health of your family. It’s essential to repair cove joint leaks before they become a much bigger issue.

Some contractors might recommend that you seal any cove joins you may have in your below-grade area. This sounds like a logical solution, but it is only a short-term one. Adding a sealant to the gap will only stop the leak for a while. In addition, it might make matters worse as hydrostatic pressure won’t go away on its own and will continue to build up. Hydrostatic pressure will eventually break the seal, or worse, cause your foundation walls to crack, bow, and even cave in. 

How to Repair Cove Joints Properly

One of the best and most popular ways to deal with this issue is to reduce the hydrostatic pressure acting on your foundation walls and redirect water away from your home. You can do this by installing an interior drainage system and a delta membrane. Working together, these two will keep water away from the cove joint. 

A sump pump is also a great waterproofing solution. This appliance will collect any water intercepted by the interior drainage system and remove it from your home. 

In some cases, waterproofing the home from the inside won’t be possible. If this is the case with your home, you can always contact professionals to install an exterior drainage system along the foundation walls. However, this often involves a lot of digging which will be dirty work and is a last resort.If you’re looking to prevent water from seeping through your cove joints, you can schedule a free basement inspection and waterproofing estimate with FSM. Our team works with residents in the Detroit area, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and surrounding areas in Michigan. Contact us now and make sure hydrostatic pressure doesn’t get the best of you and your basement.

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